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TV Review: Upstairs, Downstairs Redux

Photo of Anne Thompson By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood April 21, 2011 at 11:16AM

If you are an Anglophile who grew up as I did with the Bellamys, Mr. Hudson, Rose Buck and Upstairs, Downstairs, you'll feel right at home with a new set of socially ambitious young aristocrats setting up their new home in 1936 at 165 Eaton Place.
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Thompson on Hollywood
Thompson on Hollywood


If you are an Anglophile who grew up as I did with the Bellamys, Mr. Hudson, Rose Buck and Upstairs, Downstairs, you'll feel right at home with a new set of socially ambitious young aristocrats setting up their new home in 1936 at 165 Eaton Place.

As befits a show targeted at older females, the heroines of this new series are two mature women who actually know how to run such a grand household: Eileen Atkins as the young diplomat's mother and Jean Marsh as Rose, returning, inevitably, as housekeeper.

Another reason why the show centers on these two is that Atkins and Marsh were the original co-creators of the series and have helped writer Heidi Thomas (Cranford, Madame Bovary) to bring it back to roaring life. They've managed to make this old sock feel comfortably familiar, yet slightly edgier than the original.

EW says its "no Downton Abbey." Here's a parody.

Masterpiece Theatre is making the new show available for download for a limited time.

This article is related to: Reviews, TV


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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.